Bp Irinej of Bačka: Phanar deepened and extended church schism in Ukraine
The Phanar’s crude invasion of Ukrainian Church territory only deepened the schism and spread it out to the entire Orthodox world, believes Bishop Irinej of Bačka.
By non-canonically “rehabilitating” the schismatics of the “Kyiv Patriarchate” and the “Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church”, Pat. Bartholomew and the Holy Synod of Constantinople only made matters worse for the entire Church, His Grace says in a new interview with the Serbian outlet Pechat.
Referring to Constantinople’s “neopapism”, he noted that “the recent schisms have been transferred from the Ukrainian land to the entire Orthodox world.”
In response to Constantinople’s invasion of Ukrainian Church territory, the Moscow Patriarchate was forced to break communion with Constantinople, as well as with those hierarchs of other Local Churches that recognize “the unrepentant schismatic Epiphany—or rather, the citizen Dumenko.” The fault for this terrible tragedy lies with Constantinople, Bp. Irinej affirms.
On the other hand, the Primate of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church, the primate of the canonical Orthodox Church, is “respected and recognized by the Local Orthodox Churches, accompanied by more than a hundred canonical bishops, more than 15,000 priests and monastics, and tens of millions of believers”.
Constantinople has caused schisms between Local Churches and divisions within Local Churches, as is evidenced by the differences between bishops and theologians in the Churches of Greece and Cyprus, the Serbian hierarch emphasized. On the other hand, the Serbian Church holds “a principled position of unconditional loyalty to the centuries-old canonical order of the Orthodox Church, which no one has the right to play with.”
In general, the Serbian Church is not against anyone personally, but against all actions that threaten or violate Orthodox Church unity, His Grace said.
Serbian hierarchs do not oppose the Patriarchate of Constantinople, but they "are against actions that threaten or violate the unity of the Orthodox Church, question the authority of Orthodoxy over Catholics and non-Orthodox Christians in general," Bishop Irinej of Bačka noted.